Ramsey Island, Ffion Rees, Graffeg

Ramsey Island and Beyond Book Launch

Ffion Rees launched her new book Ramsey Island and Beyond: a life on the water at Oriel Y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre in St Davids, Pembrokeshire on Thursday 7 December. Chris Taylor, owner of St Davids Bookshop shares his introduction to her talk:

For many weeks we have been waiting for the new ‘Ffion Rees book on Ramsey Island’, at least that is how we have referred to it colloquially in the book trade. And now at last this much anticipated and eagerly awaited new title has actually arrived in our shop. But surprise, surprise, this is not just another book on Ramsey Island – it is in fact something else again, a book about Ramsey yes, but also a very intense almost autobiographical book about Ffion Rees by Ffion Rees, her relationship with the island and all its challenges, and all the ecological and environmental issues appertaining to the island.

The very title of the book Ramsey Island and Beyond and its sub title a life on the water sum up completely this greater inclusivity, and the first chapter indeed takes us not immediately to Ramsey itself, but to Grassholm and The Smalls, the surrounding waters and the teeming wild life all around. The mighty sea with all its changing and capricious moods permeates every page of this exciting new title, the same sea which determines even on a daily basis how Ffion organises her life as a naturalist, conservator and driver of boats.


But she also loves this self-same sea, indeed she is clearly a person who cannot easily live away from it, and whenever somewhere inland she is always compulsively drawn back to it, especially the waters around this extraordinary corner of west Wales. She has been involved with boats from her earliest childhood, starting with fishing trips with her late father and later honing her skills with other professional boatmen, and with fellow crew members on the St Davids lifeboat.

The book, which manages to compress an incredible amount of information into its 160 pages, contains some very comprehensive sections on the geology of the area, the sea and bird life around Ramsey, and the fauna and flora of the island which is today run as a bird sanctuary by the RSPB. The story also includes a substantial amount of history about the island and many of its former inhabitants in the years leading up its eventual acquisition by the society. So that in the end, although so personally autobiographical, this is indeed also a quite substantial book about Ramsey, with a considerable amount of most useful information about this most beautiful and beguiling of islands.

Magnificently illustrated throughout with some splendid photographs, many of which have been taken by Ffion herself, all this comes in a very compact hardback format at a very reasonable price of just £9.99.